The Rearview Mirror: The Car That Changed Lincoln Styling For Decades

The 1968 Lincoln Continental Mark III redefined Lincoln’s styling language.

It is been 100 yrs due to the fact Henry Ford acquired The Lincoln Motor Co. out of individual bankruptcy, an celebration value celebrating.

But the Lincoln most remembered and revered by collectors, auto designers and pop culture is the 1961 design, a vehicle that really reset 1960s automotive style priorities with its thoroughly clean, unadorned flanks and very simple class and eloquence.

But its influence would lead to a automobile that debuted this week in 1968, one particular that would influence Lincoln automotive style and design for the next couple decades. It’s the 1968 Continental Mark III, a car or truck that continued a unique Lincoln lineage when redefining the brand’s design.

A auto born of a family vacation

The 1939 Lincoln Continental

The 1968 Lincoln Continental Mark III had its roots in the 1st Continental, which came about just after Edsel Ford, president of the Lincoln Motor Co., returned from a vacation to Europe in 1938. He challenged the company’s lead designer, Eugene Gregory, to produce a little something similar to the cars he observed when on getaway,­ anything continental.

The final result was the 1939 Lincoln Zephyr Continental and priced at $2,640, or $53,500 modified for inflation. Offered as a coupe or cabriolet, it was speedily embraced as a classic design and style. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who deemed it “the most lovely auto in the globe,” bought two. Ultimately, 5,324 Continentals were being manufactured via 1948, when Ford Motor Co. resolved not to change it. 

Edsel Ford in 1939.

Exactly why stays unclear. Some resources place out that the marketplace for such vehicles had dried up. Other folks cite Edsel’s premature loss of life in 1943, and the absence of eyesight for a new one. But sketches for a new 1948 Continental ended up thought of.

A son’s tribute to his father 

But sellers ongoing to pester Lincoln, asking when a new Continental was likely to be manufactured. For William Clay Ford, 30, led the creation of a new Continental to honor his father in 1952, one particular that lived up to the first. Eschewing the garish chrome trim and outrageous tailfins standard of period, the Continental Mark II wore timeless, sophisticated lines, and was marketed as a result of Ford’s new Continental Division.

Run by a 300-horsepower 6.-liter V-8, and outfitted with each and every conceivable usefulness — air conditioning was the sole alternative — the coupe price tag a staggering $10,000, a lot more than twice the price of other Lincoln types, but Ford even now lost dollars on each and every a single. About 3,000 were crafted right before Continental was folded again into Lincoln. 

William Clay Ford, remaining, discusses the styling of the 1956 Continental Mark II.

It’s replaced by 1958 Continental Mark III, a auto that was anything the Mark II was not. And though it may well have been financially thriving, its artistry was a different make any difference. The Continental title would be utilised on the 1961 sedan, a car that actually reflected the original’s refined style, but a new coupe wasn’t supplied. It would just take the vision of Ford Group Vice President Lee Iacocca to revive the hallowed name.

A telephone contact begets a new Continental

The latest Continental was born in 1965 as a particular-luxury coupe. The vehicle would be referred to as the Continental Mark III as Henry Ford II didn’t consider the heavyweight 1958-60 Mark III as genuine a Continental. Corporate style and design chief Gene Bordinat supervised its style and design, although Hermann Brunn, whose family experienced made custom made bodied cars in the 1930s, was largely accountable for its inside style and design.

The 1968 Lincoln Continental Mark III affected Lincoln style for decades subsequent.

The motor vehicle that emerged experienced updated hallmarks of the 1956 Mark II, as nicely as a vinyl roof. But its neo-vintage grille marked a switch away from the modernist fascias that characterized Lincolns due to the fact 1961.

According to Ford Motor Co. archives, Jim Farrell, who wrote the Lincoln layout ebook and individually interviewed quite a few of the designers, suggests that designer Dave Ash bought a call from Ford Motor Co.’s Team Vice President Lee Iacocca late a single night telling him that he wanted to see a front-conclusion style for the new Mark that was evocative of the Rolls-Royce grill put on a Thunderbird. When he returned to Dearborn, designers experienced sketches ready, and Iacocca picked the just one that finished up as the layout. 

What Iacocca wrought

But Iacocca’s request was not a flash of style inspiration Iacocca was no designer. But he realized what bought, and it is possible that the inspiration for the grille came from an unlikely source: previous Chrysler style and design manager Virgil Exner. 

Eugene Gregorie, the designer of the first Lincoln Continental.

In 1965, as the Mark III project was beginning, Fred Duesenberg, the son of Duesenberg enterprise founder August Duesenberg, made a decision to revive the marque, employing previous Chrysler structure main Virgil Exner Sr. to layout the new car.

The new car’s design and style made use of 1930s styling cues, some of which had been viewed on early ’60s Chryslers, some others of which experienced not, such as its extensive hood, tall neo-vintage vertical grille and padded vinyl roof. Undoubtedly almost nothing like it experienced been viewed ahead of. But its impact on Detroit designers would manual their models for the far better component of the next two a long time.

Provided the widespread publicity supplied this new Duesenberg, it is possible that Iacocca preferred what he observed, and desired a thing very similar for the new Mark III, which would also boast a lengthy hood, tall neo-traditional vertical grille and padded vinyl roof. It would even boast a phony rear spare tire bulge in the trunk lid, a nod to the rear-mounted spare tire of the primary car or truck. Surely, its style was a departure for Lincoln, even as specified 1961 styling cues ended up taken care of. 

While the Mark III retained the Mark II’s trademark extensive-hood/quick-deck design and style, it owed its proportions to its use of the Ford Thunderbird platform and inner system structure. It also borrowed its drivetrain and sub-dashboard assembly. A 7.5-liter V-8 with four-barrel carburetor created 365 horsepower and 500 pound-ft of torque.

It was a success, getting Lincoln’s flagship car or truck. Shortly, its ersatz vintage cues popped up on the Lincoln Town Car Versailles, and it would continue being a mainstay of the Lincoln line-up into the 1990s. Its neo-common fashion would dwell on even as its design was modernized, something that would be at last banished inside of the end of Lincoln City Motor vehicle manufacturing in 2010.

Katherine T. Burrows

Next Post

Tulsa man pleads guilty in Bartlesville car dealership sales fraud | Crime News

Sat Apr 16 , 2022
A Tulsa gentleman admitted Tuesday to one particular depend of wire fraud as portion of a plan to defraud a Bartlesville car dealership in which he worked at the time. William Ray Turner, 31, admitted in Tulsa federal courtroom that he utilised a different person’s identification devoid of authorization to […]